As we grow and change in life, the people we associate with and form bonds with tend to change as well. For your mental health and well-being, you should try your hardest to surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you, not drag you down and discourage you. You need to have relationships with people who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you. If you notice any of these behaviors in your friendship, you might need to reevaluate your connection with them and figure out if they’re worth keeping in your life or not.
6 BEHAVIORS OF A TOXIC FRIENDSHIP (AND HOW TO AVOID HAVING ONE)
1. CONSTANT COMPLAINING
If you spend too much time in the company of a complainer, you will likely become one yourself. We pick up on the habits of others that we spend a lot of time with, so naturally, keeping the company of a complainer will only drag you down. Complainers always find something wrong, no matter what the circumstances.
In regards to complaining being contagious, a study of college roommates found that over the course of the school year, students living with a negative roommate began to have more negative thinking patterns, even if they started the year off with a positive mindset.
A chronic complainer doesn’t really see what they do wrong; they simply spew their negativity and have no awareness of their thoughts or actions. If you have a friendship with someone who only complains and doesn’t see the positives with anything in life, you should definitely consider letting them go.
2. NOT SUPPORTING YOU
Your friends should lift you up and support your goals and dreams. A naysayer, however, will constantly shoot down your ideas, and doesn’t see the value in anything you talk or dream about. Unfortunately, those people that don’t support us often don’t feel good about their own lives, and therefore have to trample on everyone else’s in order to feel satisfied.
Naysayers, Debbie Downers, or whatever you want to call them, simply live their life in fear, and therefore can’t imagine going through with their goals, much less supporting anyone else’s. So, don’t take their negative comments to heart; they just don’t have the courage to follow their dreams like you do.
However, if you have a friendship like this, you need to cut the cord, as it will only keep dragging you down.
3. DOUBTING YOUR WORTH
This one goes hand-in-hand with the above behavior; a doubter will constantly question your worth and abilities, even if you have shown your talents and wisdom. Doubt kills dreams and aspirations, so this person will only put a damper on your self-worth and energy levels.
You want people around you who will back you 100%, even if they don’t fully believe in your goals or dream. Doubters will quickly point out your mistakes and tell you why you shouldn’t follow through with something. They strip away your self-esteem, and love seeing you weak and vulnerable. Your friends should believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself, so steer clear of those that only wish to destroy you.
4. NARCISSISTIC BEHAVIORS
Excessive bragging, needing the spotlight at all times, and talking over people are some of the main attributes of a narcissist. They can’t stand for anyone else to have the attention, because that takes the spotlight away from them. Narcissists may even embellish or totally lie about something in order to receive praise. They also can’t stand to see others do well, especially when they’ve hit setbacks in their life.
Friends should allow you to share your accomplishments, and not always have a need to one-up you or take the spotlight away from you. If you have a friend who doesn’t let you fully voice your opinions or share what’s going on in your life, and constantly tries to make the conversation about them, do yourself a big favor and let them go.
5. BEING A FAIRWEATHER FRIEND
Fairweather friends, like the name suggests, only stick around when the skies are blue and the sun is shining brightly. Once the storm clouds roll in, they head for the hills faster than you can even turn your head to notice. These types of friends don’t want to help you through the hard times, but they often expect you to stick around for the bumps in the road that they encounter.
Good friends should have your back, no matter what the weather, so don’t hesitate to write someone off who doesn’t want to be there for you when you really need it.
6. GOSSIPING ABOUT YOU
Gossip can really ruin a relationship, especially if what the person says isn’t even true. You should never tolerate someone who only wants to spread rumors, as this person doesn’t have much self-esteem and wishes to hurt you in order to boost their confidence. Gossip tears people down and can really damage someone’s self-worth. You deserve much better than this, so don’t ever let someone in your life who constantly gossips, because if they talk to you about others, you can bet that they do the same about you behind your back.
Bottom line: Make sure your friends empower you, not take away your power.
SO, HOW CAN YOU AVOID THESE TOXIC TYPES OF FRIENDSHIPS?
First of all, choose your company carefully. Get to know someone well before you commit to the friendship, and if something feels off in the beginning, go with your gut instinct.
Secondly, if you already have someone like this in your life, either distance yourself from them, or come clean with them about their behavior. Either way, don’t let them stay in your life if they refuse to change.
Thirdly, work on yourself as much as possible. The key to attracting people worthy of our time and love is to increase our own self-worth. Working on yourself and developing your self-love will attract people on a similar life path and journey.
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